Decorative Concrete Maintenance Guide:
Decorative concrete flooring, including acid-stained concrete, and stained concrete overlays, are easy to maintain and will last indefinitely, if you follow several basic principles:
This is the most important step to preserving your decorative concrete floor. Dust mopping regularly will prevent sand and dirt from building up on the surface of the floor, abrading the floor finish, and wearing through the concrete sealer, and concrete stain, below. Dust mopping also removes an estimated 80-90% of indoor dust that serves as air pollutants, health hazards, and sources of allergies. Any light duty sweeping, or vacuuming tool is fine, but we find an 18” to 36” microfiber dust mop works best. The static electricity created by this flat, broad-surfaced material picks up small debris and contaminants like a magnet. But make sure that your dust mop has not been treated with any oils, silicone's, or cleaners by the manufacturer, and shake it out periodically so as not to scratch the floor.
Cleaning a decorative concrete floor promptly when the floor finish has become dirty, marred, or lost its luster is essential to maintain your floor but when dust mopping no longer helps, damp mopping will restore the initial gloss and preserve the integrity of the remaining floor finish. You should use a pH neutral cleaner, diluted in cool water, according the manufacturer’s instructions. Most neutral cleaning products do not require rinsing except when re-coating with new floor finish because they do not contain strong acidic or alkaline additives. When mopping, be sure to keep the cleaning solution from getting too dirty, and do not allow the cleaner to puddle. You may want to use separate buckets for the cleaning solution, and to periodically rinse the mop. Also, do not use Swiffer Wet-Jets, bleach, ammonia, Pine Sol, or any harsh detergents. They will break down and discolor the existing floor finish, and maybe the concrete sealer as well, which could then require stripping and re-application. The ideal mop to use for damp mopping is a "loop end wet mop" made of a cotton/rayon blend or microfiber. Loop end mops are absorbent, re-usable, contact the floor surface continuously, and don't leave lint or fiber behind. Microfiber flat mops also work well. Tough marks that do not come up with a mop can be removed with fine steel wool or a light scouring pad. It is important to ring your mop of choice out before applying your cleaner to the floor. The floor doesn’t require an abundance of moisture to be cleaned thoroughly.
Your floor was installed with certified Brickform products. IT IS NOT RECOMMENDED TO USE ANY OTHER CLEANING CHEMICALS OR WAXES ON YOUR FLOOR EXCEPT CERTIFIED BRICKFORM PRODUCTS. Doing so may cause a reaction that could damage your floor.
Re-coating with Wax:
A certain amount of abrasion and scratching from foot traffic, playing children, pets, heavy stationary objects, and carts or dollies, cannot be avoided and will eventually erode the existing floor finish on a decorative concrete floor. This finish needs to be restored periodically so that the concrete sealer, and concrete stain below, is not affected. How often to re-coat depends on the building environment. In homes, once a year is a good rule of thumb; for businesses, it should be more often: probably every 4 to 6 months. Waxing is normally necessary for epoxy clear coats as stated above. However stronger coating systems such as UreMax and PolyAstic do not require waxing as they are 20x stronger than epoxy.
Furniture and Other Objects:
The sealer and floor finish on your acid stained concrete floor, or stained concrete overlay, is a form of plastic. Most plastics tend to bond together, so you should avoid placing on your floor anything with a plastic or acrylic bottom, such as air mattresses, painter’s tarps, planters, furniture coasters, and certain types of matting. Otherwise, when these objects are moved, they may take the sealer and color right off of the floor. If you do keep such objects on the floor, make sure to use a fabric in-between, or attach felt-bottomed pads. Products made with cheap or poor-quality rubber will also stick to stained concrete flooring and can leave yellow or brown staining. Quality rubber (e.g., based on nitrile) are generally okay, but they should be tested before leaving them in place permanently.
A special note regarding furniture: The concrete sealers and finishes used for stained concrete flooring are extremely durable - but the hard bottoms, and constant movement, of tables and chairs in a restaurant, office building, dining room, or entertainment area, will eventually scratch or wear through them, if preventive measures are not taken. In such high activity areas, we highly recommend attaching special pads to the legs of all furniture, and heavy stationary objects. This is a quick and inexpensive way to extend the life of your floor and reduce your maintenance costs drastically.
Also, be very careful of runoff water from plants, which often contains tannin's, lignin, fertilizer or plant food. Over time, these trace chemicals will discolor and permanently stain your sealer.
Finally, NEVER EVER apply tape of any kind, for however short a period of time, to a stained concrete floor!!! The tape will pull up the concrete sealer, and concrete stain coloring, when removed. Painters should know better, but they do this all the time. This type of damage is not covered under a stained concrete floor warranty, so you should warn painters beforehand, and/or recover repair damages from them, so you are able pay to have it fixed.
Mats are imperative for a stained concrete floor with an exterior entrance. Dirt, moisture, and outdoor contaminants, such as deicers, anti-freeze, fertilizer, and oil, pose an ongoing, significant threat of damage or staining to a decorative concrete floor, no matter how durable the sealer. Mats should be used both inside and outside exterior entrances. A good matting system will reduce dirt accumulation on your floor by 85% or more and is an easy way to simplify and reduce the maintenance required on your floor.
The best mats to use outside are those made of rope, hemp, or other heavy absorbent fabric that has a high friction open surface designed to knock grit particles off shoes and trap them. Inside, more densely fabricated mats, such as soft, shag carpets are then effective in removing any remaining dirt and moisture on footwear. Whatever mat you choose, it should have a solid backing so that it is easy to shake out. This backing should be of a good quality rubber or vinyl, so that the mat does not stick to the floor or stain it. Rubber mats can be cleaned in a washer and dryer. Vinyl mats need to be hosed off and allowed to air dry. For high traffic entryways, a good rule of thumb is to use at least 15 feet of matting. This allows each foot of your visitors, guests, or customers to touch the matting at least 3 times, and is proven to be most effective in removing the majority of incoming dirt and moisture.
Like conventional concrete, stamped surfaces will provide decades of service when properly installed and maintained, even when exposed to harsh winter weather conditions. Color hardeners that are often used in the stamping process provide additional benefit by making the surface stronger and more resistant to abrasion and water penetration. Most contractors also apply several coats of protective sealer to block the penetration of dirt, chemicals, oil, grease, and other substances. Sealers also make the concrete easier to clean and prevent color fading from UV exposure.
Even properly sealed stamped concrete will require some routine maintenance depending on exposure conditions and the type and amount of traffic it receives. Here are tips for cleaning and treating your stamped concrete to preserve its beauty and extend its service life:
Tips for Concrete Floor Maintenance:
Tips for exterior concrete maintenance: